Introduced as a member of The Inhumans' royal family from their floating home city of Attilan, Black Bolt was exposed to Terrigen Mist while still in the womb, thusly born with the incredible (and destructive) power of a hypersonic voice. He can also fly, manipulate particles, and has displayed limited telepathy.
Because of the aforementioned hypersonic voice, Black Bolt was forced into seclusion for most of his upbringing, training in a soundproof chamber to control his power. Shortly after re-entering Inhuman society, he was goaded into using his powers by evil brother Maximus in a bid to protect Attilan, accidentally killing their parents and thrusting Black Bolt into kinghood. In the following decades, he married his cousin Medusa (with whom he fathered a son, Ahura) and encountered more figures from the greater Marvel Universe.
Like his fellow Inhumans, the Noughts saw Black Bolt become more prominent within the Marvel Universe, after headlining a twelve-issue limited series under the Marvel Knights banner. They also featured in various crossover events like Silent War, Secret Invasion, and War of Kings, further increasing their presence across the publisher's line of comics.
The New '10s continued Black Bolt's ubiquitousness, with the Terrigen Bomb on Earth leading to his joining The Illuminati in the pages of New Avengers, working alongside Iron Man and Professor X to save Earth-616 from an oncoming collision with Earth-1610. It failed. Inhumans: Attilan Rising, a Casablanca-inspired limited series set on Battleworld, portrayed an alternate version of Black Bolt who can talk.
Black Bolt was also one of the major figures in Inhumans vs. X-Men, even being framed for Cyclops' murder by Emma Frost. As part of the RessurXion soft relaunch following IvX, he'll be showing up in his first-ever solo title, written by Saladin Ahmed, as well as Royals, which centers on Black Bolt and his family searching for answers about their kind in outer space.
Outside of comics, Black Bolt has appeared frequently in other media. He's shown up in multiple cartoons based on Marvel characters, most notably Disney XD's Marvel Universe block, and leads in ABC's Marvel Cinematic Universe show Inhumans, played there by Anson Mount.
Notable Comic Books
- Inhumans vol. 1 (1975 — 1977)
- Inhumans vol. 2 (1998 — 1999)
- Inhumans vol. 3 (2000)
- Inhumans vol. 4 (2003 — 2004)
- Silent War (2007)
- Secret Invasion: Inhumans (2008 — 2009)
- War of Kings (2009)
- New Avengers vol. 3 (2013 — 2015)
- Infinity (2013)
- Inhumanity (2014)
- Charles Soule's Inhumans (2014 — 2017):
- Inhuman (2014 — 2015)
- Inhumans: Attilan Rising (2015)
- Uncanny Inhumans (2015 — 2017)
- Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016 — 2017)
- Royals (2017)
- Black Bolt (2017)
- Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017)
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006)
- LittleBigPlanet (2012) note
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012)
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013)
- Marvel: Contest of Champions (2014)
- Marvel Future Fight (added in 2016)
- Marvel Heroes (added in 2016)
- Marvel Puzzle Quest (added in 2016)
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2017)
- The Fantastic Four (1978) note
- Fantastic Four (1994)
- Planet Hulk (2010)
- Disney XD's Marvel Universe block:
Black Bolt provides examples of the following tropes:
- A Boy and His X: Black Bolt establishes that Lockjaw and Black Bolt knew each other almost from birth, and reveals that Lockjaw stayed with Black Bolt when he had to retreat into isolation as a child learning to control his devastating powers. He remains his best friend even in the present.
- Alliterative Name: Blackagar Boltagon (Black Bolt).
- Anti-Hero: His actions during Infinity killed many and screwed up the lives of every NuHuman, and he's a member of the Illuminati. Not to mention his plan to use a bomb to convert billions across the cosmos into Inhumans against their will.
- Assimilation Plot: Black Bolt in recent years has had a reoccurring plot of unleashing Terrigen Mists across a large population to turn them into Inhumans to 'protect' current Inhuman subjects. Infinity is the first time outside of alternate universes where he succeeds in part.
- The Atoner: Post-Secret Wars, he is working from the shadows to make up for his actions and for neglecting his son. After spending the first arc of Black Bolt in a space prison black site where he has to endure emotional and physical torture, and is forced to confront his actions as a father and king among other things, he resolves to make up for all of his past transgressions against others.
- Blessed with Suck: This guy can produce a destructive force with his voice. If he so much as whispers, he'll destroy the landscape around him. Black Bolt has a bad case of Power Incontinence and the only way he can avoid destroying everything around him is by not vocalizing (talking, laughing, crying, etc.). An old Fantastic Four comic revealed that Black Bolt had spent his childhood in an isolation chamber until he had learned the discipline to stay forever silent. And he killed his parents with an ill-timed utterance.
- The Comically Serious: Takes this role in the 2017 Black Bolt series, where he completely fails to understand why Crusher Creel thinks his real name being "Blackagar Boltagon" is funny.
- Comic Book Death: For a time after War of Kings, he was thought missing when he set off a massive bomb and was caught in the blast range. He's just fallen through the crack in reality it made.
- Depower: After Infinity, his voice isn't as strong as it was. With help from Maximus of all people his powers were restored. Then again during his 2017 solo, at the end of the first arc.
- Elemental Powers: Effectively what Black Bolts true inhuman abilities boil down to. How he can control energized particle flow to enable his powers, that's what his scream as well as other abilities in his possession stems from.
- Flying Brick
- The Good King: Cares about his people more than anything in the world, and is always ready to defend them to the last stand. However his status as a Good King was somewhat deconstructed during the "War of Kings" event since Black Bolt's desire to play a great and powerful ruler to his people often causes him to commit morally questionable and downright horrific actions against countless non-Inhumans in the name of a contrived greater good. It took Crystal's admonishment to hammer home the lesson that although he is a king it does not give him the right to play God with the lives of others.
- Goo Goo Godlike: Even his cries were incredibly destructive. (This was back when Inhumans underwent Terrigenesis at birth.)
- Happily Married: With Medusa, most of the time. For a while before the end of War of Kings, they'd been growing apart. Averted with some of his Universal Inhuman wives. Two he's said to be indifferent to, and one he outright hates.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Black Bolt's most devastating offensive weapon and one of the phenomena based upon the particle interaction is his actual voice. So powerful he can never speak (he is so mentally disciplined that he doesn't even talk in his sleep). A whisper can level a city, cause distant dormant volcanoes to become active once more, shake entire continents apart and generate tremors on the far side of the planet. A hypersonic shout has teared holes into reality! His powers are so destructive the Inhumans' Genetic Council has forbidden him from reproducing.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Throughout War Of Kings, he takes several actions that make everything worse. For example, killing the Skrull fleet awakens the Fraternity of Raptors, who went on to murder Lilandra. And detonating the T-Bomb opened up The Fault, attracting the attention of the Cancerverse, and causing the return of The Magus. Not to mention the consequences of Inhumanity.
- No-Sell: He's immune to Maximus' mind-control powers. Well, usually. If he starts to feel doubt, Maximus can get in there, and like any sibling, Maximus is good at getting into his brother's head.
- Odd Friendship: After their stint and breakout in an interstellar prison together, he's good friends with Crusher Creel the Absorbing Man
- Polygamy: He is married to five women, which is condoned by Inhuman society but weirds out some of the 616 heroes, including Spider-Man.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After being abducted and held captive by the Skrulls for an unknown length of time, the first thing Black Bolt did on getting out was to hunt the Skrulls down and try to wipe them out.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ruler of the Inhumans and a superhero.
- Self-Made Orphan: He accidentally killed his parents as a result of trying to stop one of Maximus' early plots. Naturally, Maximus taunts him about this any opportunity he gets.
- Shock and Awe: Has this power in addition to his Make Me Wanna Shout one.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Well, take a look at his full name...
- Super Speed: Black Bolt can run and move at speeds that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete, as he has been able to catch directed miniature missiles even when attacked from below and unaware with ease, move at a speed so great he is invisible to the human eye, move at such a speed he can travel vast distances before a human can finish processing a thought and has been able to catch Quicksilver.
- Super Strength: Black Bolt, like all Inhumans, is superhumanly strong. Physically superior to the finest human specimen and to some inhumans, under normal circumstances he's able to lift a couple of tons. However he can augment his physical strength by channeling the necessary particle energy through his body. Can trade blows with Thor, Gladiator and others of Marvel's mightiest.
- Super Toughness: Can take blows from the Hulk!
- Telepathy: Skilled enough to overwhelm his brothers mental manipulation and how he communes with his wife Medusa.
- Underestimating Badassery: Maximus accuses him of doing this during Silent War, picking a fight with humans and assuming everything would go smoothly. Sure enough, America's response to Black Bolt's declaration of war is vicious - they try to wipe out the Inhumans entirely.
- The Voiceless: A necessity, considering his main power; he mainly communicates using body/sign language and telepathy, usually to his wife, Medusa. However, when someone translates for him, he proves to have a very dry wit.
- The Worf Effect: Black Bolt's voice is one of the most powerful destructive forces in the Marvel Universe, so oftentimes it'll be used to show how dangerous an enemy is when they survive or shrug it off, like Hulk in World War Hulk, or Thanos in Infinity.